Toshihiro Hirano x Nanase Ohkawa Talk – Magic Knight Rayearth Scenario Collection 1 (October/1995)

© CLAMP/ 講談社
© CLAMP/ 講談社

Ohkawa: Good evening. I’m forever indebted to you (laughs).

Hirano: No, not at all (laughs). Well, where do we start?

Ohkawa: Let’s see. Let’s talk about the scenario of the second season of the anime from the moment I decided to write it.

Hirano: The scenario of the first season was written by another screenwriter. It follows the first part of the manga until the end. But, a second season was decided. However, the second part of the manga had only just begun.

Ohkawa: That’s right. It was almost simultaneously.

Hirano: If the second season was based on the second part of the manga, this would be difficult for the screenwriter not to spoil it, and Ohkawa-san requested not to do so.

Ohkawa: Yes. I remember well how it happened (laughs).

Hirano: After all, the hard part in the second season was how to correct the direction that had shifted in some parts.

Ohkawa: Yes. In a meeting before the production of the second season, there was a comment from Director Hirano in which, in the first season, the view of Hikaru as the protagonist is not well expressed. Of course, the three girls, Hikaru, Umi and Fuu are the main characters, but after all, the key is Hikaru, and it was not easy to make it clear. So, in order to bring it out, we wanted an enemy only for Hikaru, and Nova was born.

Hirano: Yes. In the first season, Hikaru is drawn back and she doesn’t feel like a main character. Since Hikaru is the most enthusiastic and nothing can bother her too much (laughs), I had the feeling that she has not played the role as the protagonist. However, in the first season she was so cheerful that there are quite a few people who said that they will feel lonely if there is no cheerful Hikaru in the second one (laughs).

Ohkawa: That’s right (laughs).

Hirano: But some people seem to enjoy seeing a depressive Hikaru all the time (laughs).

Ohkawa: It’s complicated (laughs). When it comes to the second season, the three girls are always troubled about the aftermath of Emeraude, and at some moments, there are even less smiles.

Hirano: And what I tried to do when I made the new series was that I would never pattern it. In every episode there was a time to fight, to transform, to get the strongest robot, and to defeat the enemy for some reason we don’t know. I don’t feel comfortable to just say “My job here is done”. It’s not that it’s bad, but it doesn’t fit the story of Magic Knight Rayearth.

Ohkawa: That’s right. Other thing is to be aware of inconsistencies that often occur in one episode. For example, in the case of the anime, if Autozam was defeated, then Fahren, and finally Chizeta, in reality, it doesn’t intersect so well. This pattern of defeating each enemy fitted for the first season, but the second season tries to avoid repeating the same. Therefore, the time flowing in the second season is extremely short.[1]

Hirano: Yes. But it’s difficult. Some people want you to fit everything that way.

Ohkawa: Patterns may certainly be important in the way these can be seen easily by people.

Hirano: But, the second season begins following the terrible things of the first one (laughs).

Ohkawa: Y-yeah (laughs). There was no problem if the ending of the first season was not the same as the manga… Until about 27 episodes, it became a follow-up screenplay (laughs).

Hirano: Of course, Presea’s death was painful, right?

Ohkawa: That was… (laughs) …Yes (laughs)

Hirano: I was against Presea’s death until the end… When I think of it… It was for the best for me, as the director, for various reasons not to meet with the original authors first (laughs)

Ohkawa: We were going to leave all the anime to you. But there were a lot of things that we ended up helping (laughs).

Hirano: I first met CLAMP-san when the scenario for episode 14 was written. If we could have met at the beginning and discuss more about the content, I think the first season could have been completely different. I’m sorry that we couldn’t meet before.

Ohkawa: That’s right. When we were talking about the story of the first season with more detail, you could hear things like “Why is this happening?”, “Why? why? why-y!?” due to the circumstances (laughs). Specially when it comes to Zagato and Ferio (laughs).


Hirano: What we wanted in the first season was for the girls to fight and become true companions.

Ohkawa: Yes. I also would like to talk about that, before the anime was aired, I was asked for its approval… (laughs).

Hirano: (laughs).

Ohkawa: But one difference between the anime and the manga, which I couldn’t follow anyway, was that “Zagato kidnaping Emeraude” was shown on video (laughs). That made Zagato a true villain (laughs). Other thing is that in the manga I purposely avoided the scene where the ordinary citizens suffer from the love of Emeraude and Zagato, but it came out directly in the anime version (laughs).

Hirano: It’s definitely bothering me (laughs). The word “taking control by force” comes to my mind. What is definitely different from the manga is that the anime version of Zagato uses the force to achieve his goals, and he is set to be more evil than in the manga.

Ohkawa: For that reason, Lantis was the hardest one to portray in the second season.

Hirano: Why?

Ohkawa: He doesn’t have a place where he belongs (laughs).

Hirano: (laughs). After all, Lantis always walks down the hallway (laughs). Also, even if it is dangerous, he has to get out the castle wearing his cloak while standing at the cliff (laughs).

Ohkawa: He has no remedy (laughs).

Hirano: Yeah (laughs).

Ohkawa: Also, there are subtle differences between the manga and the second season of the anime. For example, the manga has the concept of “path” and the person who can make their own “path” is the strongest one, but in the anime, the crown is the proof for the one that can become a “pillar”.

Hirano: We dropped the setting of the “path” in the anime because of the conflict with Debonair.

Ohkawa: That’s right. In the opinion of Director Hirano, we should make the reason to be “pillar” completely different from the manga. The second season was a story I created after consulting with him, so I learned a lot. Specially with Nova (laughs).

Hirano: At first, both Nova and Debonair had a strange sense of incompatibility in the work of Magic Knight Rayearth (laughs).

Ohkawa: Eh? I like Nova. I think, she is not the type of character I would create (laughs).

Hirano: Which type of character do you mean? (laughs).

Ohkawa: One made by Director Hirano (laughs).

Hirano: Why is that? (laughs).

Ohkawa: No, I’m talking about the design… (laughs).[2]


Hirano: In the second season, I didn’t know the system well because it was my first time as an anime director. As I became involved in the composition of dividing the story into two parts, I was able to finally provide feedback to the scenario by myself; I was able to see where the continuity should be fixed, and I felt that I could see the path of the work.

Ohkawa: I see.

Hirano: The production method is also different between the first and second season. I was able to see things clearly in two parts, so I came to understand whether it was necessary to correct it to my own way. I think that I gave various annoying orders, but today is definitely different (laughs).

Ohkawa: Some manuscripts were corrected up to 6 times (laughs).[3]

Hirano: I had it fixed (laughs).

Ohkawa: The fix itself is completely fine. I didn’t participate in the anime of Magic Knight Rayearth as the original author, but as a screenwriter who knew the original work. It was a great learning experience.

Hirano: I was also a screenwriter.

Ohkawa: I was lucky, I thought that Director Hirano was a person who could understand the world view of robots, magic, and girls fighting… For example, Autozam, Chizeta, and Fahren are something a bit unthinkable to appear in the same anime (laughs).

Hirano: I’ve always done that, so I’m proud that I was able to get in without much embarrassment for my age (laughs).

Ohkawa: In addition, the second season has a lot of characters (laughs) and the backbone is complicated, so I was happy to have Director Hirano teach me how to show it as an anime.

Hirano: Was it hard sometimes?

Ohkawa: The hard part was that I couldn’t spoil the manga (laughs).

Hirano: (laughs). You wrote different stories with the same subject at the same time.

Ohkawa: Yes. I calculated that Nakayoshi would come out on the airing day of the anime episode, but if that changes due to a special program, everything was ruined (laughs).

Hirano: It’s something you can’t do, right? I often try to do anime originals until the original story is complete. I thought that maybe Ohkawa-san would make some noise on the way (laughs)

Ohkawa: I thought so too (laughs).

Hirano: Physically thinking, it’s one episode every week.

Ohkawa: I don’t think I’ll ever do it again (laughs).

Hirano: But recently, the number of scenarios has been increasing.

Ohkawa: I don’t want to do that (laughs). I have decided not to do any screenwriting except when I hear the thoughts from the staff. I wasn’t going to do this again… (laughs).

Hirano: That’s right (laughs).


Ohkawa: Do you have any characters that are easy or difficult to portray?

Hirano: As a character, I feel sorry for Alcyone as she is.

Ohkawa: I also want to do something with Alcyone (laughs). Are you weak for that kind of woman? (laughs).

Hirano: No, not at all (laughs). But in some cases, Inova was a painful one (laughs).

Ohkawa: I, I see (laughs). The hardest one from the second season is Eagle. Because the character and the setting are different from the manga version. The role that Nova carries in the anime is actually Eagle’s role in the manga.

Hirano: But you can write well while laying two lines.

Ohkawa: In that sense, it is easy to do it because there are anime original characters. As for the second season of the anime, it’s not something I thought. However, what I was most impressed with the Director Hirano’s opinion was the scene where Rayearth lifted his hand when Hikaru was attacked by Nova in episode 30, and the sword broke and Hikaru fell down. The director said, “This is what a robot is like”, “Rayearth will help her this way”. I thought, “Oooooh! Amazing!!” (laughs).[4]

Hirano: It’s my specialty (laughs). It’s a close relationship between robots and humans (laughs).


Hirano: But in many ways, I’m glad I was able to work with CLAMP.

Ohkawa: That’s the same for us too. When saying this, it is said that Director Hirano should be treated with the same respect of an elderly person (laughs), but for us, the Director was like someone we knew since school days (laughs).

Hirano: Like I was a student (laughs).

Ohkawa: (laughs). In that sense, I was really happy that we were able to work together from the second season.

Hirano: Is that so? (laughs).

Ohkawa: That’s right (laughs).

Hirano: I also enjoyed working together. But the public rumors and their impressions were completely different (laughs).

Ohkawa: We had heard rumors that Director Hirano was very unfriendly (laughs).

Hirano: Rumors are unreliable (laughs). I’ve been working with a lot of people, but there were not many people who understood what they wanted to do and make it happen. So, I tried my best working together and I thought it was amazing. It’s like finding the depth of your ability. I feel like I was taught.

Ohkawa: That’s not true. I thought that Director Hirano is the kind of person who is a real filmmaker who can support you.

Hirano: But I wanted to work together from the beginning. It’s frustrating because I have the impression that we did it together halfway through it.

Ohkawa: Next time let’s do it from the beginning (laughs).

Hirano: That would be my pleasure (laughs).


[1] One important thing about the second season is that the time that passes is too short between events, and sometimes those events occur at the same time.

[2] The design of Nova is based on Toshihiro Hirano’s character, Iczer-1.

[3] Ohkawa meant that to get the final script accepted, she had to re-write it up to six or seven times, but we learn more about this in the talk included in the Scenario Collection #2.

[4] For the record, Mokona and Igarashi like episode 30 as well. We learn more about this in the talk included in the Scenario Collection #2.

Translated from Japanese by shidouhikaru15.


Interview originally published in Magic Knight Rayearth Scenario Collection 1 (Kodansha), released on October 31, 1995. Original text available upon request.

If you found mistakes in this translation or would like to contribute with translating other interviews, please contact me.